Mark Lasceski realized the potential was there.
The veteran coach knew entering the season that his St. Johns girls basketball team had the experience and talent to be a pretty good team.
The Redwings turned out to be more than just a pretty good team this winter.
St. Johns made the deepest postseason run of all mid-Michigan teams this season, getting to the Class A state semifinal.
And Lasceski’s role in that success has him leading the LSJ girls basketball Dream Team as the coach of the year.
“I think it did exceed my expectations a little bit,” Lasceski said of a 23-4 season that included CAAC Red, district and regional championships. “I knew we had the potential to be good and have a lot of success. Once we started rolling, it was could we get to the next spot, could we get to the next rung on the ladder and things like that.”
St. Johns got to that next rung, gradually building momentum as it racked up big win after big win throughout the season. Lasceski points to knocking off Haslett in January as one of the big stepping stones for his team. That victory was the first of many big ones St. Johns picked up throughout the latter half of the season.
“That kind of gave us a little indication that we had potential to be pretty good,” Lasceski said, while also pointing to a victory over Waverly. “As the season rolled on, we just continued to win.
“We kept on growing from there. As we had success, our confidence began to grow. One of the things we did as a team is we didn’t let success really dictate how we were able to go from there. We just continued to improve instead of becoming satisfied.”
St. Johns ended up beating Haslett twice on its way to sharing the CAAC Red title with DeWitt and Haslett. It also was the only team to beat East Lansing in the regular season after it added Michigan State signee Taryn McCutcheon to its lineup.
And the Redwings also picked up big wins over Flushing and Saginaw Heritage during a postseason run that ended with the school’s first state semifinal appearance since 1997.
Lasceski credits a complete team effort for the success his team experienced. Sophomore Maddie Maloney was St. Johns’ star, but a number of players stepped up and delivered big performances throughout the latter half of the season.
“I thought you could just see as a team that they really started playing for one another and playing together,” Lasceski said. “It didn’t matter who was scoring or who was making the plays, it was just someone was there making a big play to get us rolling or get us started. In our run, it was someone different every night and it just kind of snowballed from there. It was something that grew from that team chemistry.”
Contact Brian Calloway at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.